In this video, Ruqayyah Bailey, who has Autism, talks about how her family’s legacy of activism inspires her own. She describes how her great grandparents were active in the civil rights movement, and while they passed away while Ruqayyah was in high school, adding: “I still live on to their legend of advocacy, politics, [and] making sure things are done right for my community…” Ruqayyah knows the impact voters with disabilities can have on this country.
When Ruqayyah first wanted to vote, she was encouraged to do so by her mother, who is also her guardian. Her guardian told her:
“Sure you can vote, why not? It’s your right!”
With that Ruqayyah has been voting since was 18, not just in presidential elections but local races too. The first time Ruqayyah voted her guardian helped her understand the process, and, as she puts it, “ever since then I have been looking up bills, house bills, senate bills and I just think people with guardians should be able to vote too.”
Ruqayyah reminds us all that people with disabilities should not feel excluded from the political process, and that they can have a profound impact on our politics and our future:
“People with disabilities can change the world, definitely. People with disabilities can even become president, senators, I mean we can do anything that another person can do without a disability and I really, really would love for someone with a disability to be a representative of my country.”
She encourages everyone to get out there and vote, but not to just stop there… she says you shouldn’t just register, but read up about the people on your ballot, try to meet with elected officials, and to share your lived experience with them, so that they can be more informed and help both yourself and other people with disabilities. She finishes by encouraging everyone to keep fighting for a better future, “I think we can change the world, we’re already changing the world now, let’s change it some more!”